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On a bad day, I would just attribute it to a 13-year-old missionary school education which rendered me unequipped to maintain eye contact, let alone have a conversation, with a boy. That life is seven years behind me, so I know I can’t use it as a crutch to defend my actions anymore. I might have been a late bloomer in sexual matters but over the years, I have acquired the ability to manoeuvre through and master first date conversations.
What happens after that? Nothing.
I dated my first boyfriend for two years. Two years of long distance had made me feel that I was strong enough to take on the world. After all, I can count the number of times I had met him in those two years and how my feelings hadn’t wavered. He was my best friend, we shared a common love of junk food, standup comedy and puppies of all shapes and sizes.
I loved him...until I didn’t. Until the day he said that he was uncomfortable with me stepping out in a skirt…because I would be exposing my legs to other men. Until the day he told me I shouldn’t be wearing my favourite red lipstick when meeting his family because it was, erm…too bright?
My internal emotional turmoil was relieved at the opportunity of pursuing a masters abroad. I got ample opportunities to break up with him before I left but I couldn’t. Assertiveness was not my strong suit. So he and his parents accompanied my folks to the airport and I left for good.
Our fights continued but he refused to let go of me. We would go days without talking to each other and then fall into the cycle of apologizing and fighting again. It was taking a toll on my mental health and academics, so one day I just stopped talking to him. Yes, I am not too proud of it. But I ghosted my boyfriend.
I am, of course, profusely apologetic of my actions. But I was unable to just say the words - ‘Hi, we had a great time together. But I am not in love with you anymore.’ Until he frustratedly coaxed it out of me.
‘Why couldn’t you tell me before?’
‘Ummm… I don’t know.’
‘We are on a break, you mean? You are not calling it off for real, are you?’
He called me names and removed me from his social media and I still don’t blame him for it.
I have been on dates after that, at times struggling to break it to people that I am not really interested in a second outing. Trying to find the balance between being cryptic and rude, I think I am getting a bit better at it. Because nobody really deserves to be ghosted and with a bit of effort from our end, we can keep it from happening.